Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Tad Bit of Catching up to do

I agree, I have been a slacker and thus have fallen behind on the blog. I have tried to catch you up a little bit but still working on getting you current. Since the weather has turned cold and nasty we shall be staying put for a while and hopefully will afford me the opportunity to catch up all the way. So here goes...

We left Wilmington Island on the 8th of November and anchored that evening in Big Tom Creek. The following day we made it to South River and put the anchor down in a deserted area. The only thing negative we heard about this area is that you have lots of shrimpers going out to and returning from the sea, so we decided once the sun went down to turn our cockpit lights on just to make sure we were seen in case anyone came in or left in the dark. That evening we were greeted by a beautiful sunset,

and an early morning departure was put off for an hour due to fog so thick we couldn't see the shore line in front of us.Once we did get underway we made our way to St. Simons and anchored in the anchorage in front of the Morning Star Marina. We knew that S/V Ultra would be there as we had been in contact with them the previous day. We have been running into JoAnne and Bill since before we left Panama City last year when they were transients at our marina. Melissa the dock master from the marina had gotten to know them and loaned her car out so we could do some shopping and sightseeing around the city on Veterans Day. We ended up at the water front by the lighthouse where they were having a ceremony in honor of the Veterans so we hung around there a bit before wandering off to do some sightseeing and re-provisioning.

We also took the time to head out to the airfield as they had the Liberty Belle, a B-17 Flying Fortress on display. We got there just in time to see her taxi down the runway and take off so it was nice to see history right before us. I have to say, she is an impressive aircraft.

Here we are, JoAnne & Bill and Dirk & myself

The following day we bid farewell yet again to s/v Ultra and made our way to Cumberland Island where we spotted a couple of the wild horses grazing as we were entering the anchorage. We were suppose to head into Fernandina onto a mooring ball but they were booked so we opted for an anchorage instead.Guess everyone enjoys the Fernandina area and many stay several days for R&R. That was our plan...The next morning we called ahead and they said there was a mooring coming available at about 11am, perfect as we would be arriving just about that time. We headed to the fuel dock to fill up diesel and top off the water tanks and ended up having to sit and wait as the person on the mooring ball was having problems and couldn’t leave. They assured us they would find a spot for us, just to hang out for a bit and they would accommodate us. We sat on the docks chatting with other cruisers which always seem to be the norm anytime we hit land. We really wanted to see Fernandina since we had been through this past summer. It was so pretty but we didn’t have the time to see it before. This time we stayed four days catching up on some much needed dirty laundry, walked the town and saw the sights, and met several new cruisers that I’m sure we will see again along our travels. On the 17th we finally let go of the mooring ball and said goodbye to Fernandina with an anchorage just north of the Sisters Creek Bridge in our sights. Above is a little sea bird that decided to catch a ride with us for a while.....
It was to be a short day so we were pretty sure we would be the first to be at the anchorage which is the way I like it. It’s a small anchorage so we were able to pick our way around until we found the best spot and dropped the hook. Later on two other boats came in and anchored one in front and one behind us. We all had the same idea of catching the bridge at the same time in the morning as they were I think only having one opening in the morning due to some maintenance issues so we had to make it through or be stuck. The following morning the boat anchored in front of us goes to pick up its anchor and ended up fouling its prop on its buoy line. So now the boats anchor is off the ground, the prop is fouled so it cannot move under power and there is a current quickly dragging the boat toward the bridge. I told Dirk I didn’t know whether to get my video camera or get on the radio and alert them of the impending disaster. Dirk grabbed the radio and told them if they had a second anchor they better deploy it now as they were headed for the bridge, the owner looked back and did a double take before running to the front and tossed his second anchor over which lucky for him was ready to go. We in the mean time were getting our anchor up just in case we needed to assist but the second anchor caught and stopped him before he went too much further. Poor guy ended up diving over the side to un foul his prop in water that was about 68 degrees. And to boot, it was a cool morning, poor guy. That's not the way I want to start my morning.We ended up getting through the bridge and made our way to St. Augustine where we took a mooring ball on the north side of the Bridge of Lions. We ended up meeting the boaters face to face and spent the first evening at a little place close to the marina called OC Whites getting to know each other over a couple beers at happy hour. Of course joking about the fact that one day you are the entertainment, one day you are entertained. Today they had been the entertainment. Klaus & Barbara have since become good friends along with Stu & Tony which were on the other boat anchored with us that day by the bridge. Dirk & I took a couple days and did the tourist thing walking around town, visiting the various shops and snapping many photos of the great architecture that the town has to offer.

We were due to leave on Saturday morning but decided to stay when we learned that they were doing the lighting of the city Saturday evening. What’s one more day when you have no place to be? We ended up going to the lighting ceremony with our new friends Klaus & Barbara from s/v Klabara and Stu & Tony from s/v Georgia E along with John & Nora from s/v Saber Tooth.

The city was lit and Dirk and I went and grabbed a bite to eat then headed back to the boat for a good night’s rest as we had an early departure the following morning.
Here is St. Augustine from our mooring ball that evening.

Today would be Georgia E’s time to entertain us and she did a good one. Actually it wasn’t so much entertainment as it was nerve racking. There is a place on the ICW called Matanzas Inlet that has been a source of frustration for many a boater as it shoals in a lot of the time. One does their best to listen to other boaters transiting ahead of them in order to get the best take on depths. We headed through staying close to shore and the red buoy as suggested, calling out depths to the two boats following us. We draw close to 5 feet with Klabara drawing close to that and Georgia E drawing 6. Hummmm we bumped once which wasn’t going to be nice for them. Before we knew it they were aground and we still had an outgoing tide which meant we had to unground them or they would be stuck for hours. Dirk managed to get the dinghy off the davits as I kept the boat steady in the skinny channel and went to retrieve Georgia E's anchor to try and kedge off. This would entail Dirk taking their anchor out to some spot in deeper water, drop it and hope it catches as they begin to pull it in and hopefully pull themselves off the sandbar. No such luck, they were stuck. A passing motor yacht about 65 feet long offered to try and pull him off so Dirk did the work of transferring lines back and forth as both Klaus and I did our best staying inside the channel counteracting the current to stay close. It was a struggle but Georgia E finally was able to be pulled free. Geeeeeze, what next? Since the area between St. Augustine and Daytona has anchorages so few and far between we elected to take a marina in Palm Coast for the evening. The three of us travelling together got docked and met on s/v Klabara for sun downers and to discuss the next day’s adventure. Early to bed and early to rise for the next leg of the journey down to Daytona where we anchored in a somewhat crowded but big anchorage. My sister was in the area so we took the dinghy to the nearest dock and met her along with two of my nieces and went out to dinner to try and do some catching up. She is also our mail collector so we were greeted with many pounds of magazines and mail to go through. Yippie... We only had a few short hours to visit but it is always better than not seeing them at all. Big thanks go out to Kathy for taking her time to drive and meet us, we really appreciate how you take care of us. So folks, that's enough catching up for right now. Don't want to bore you to complete tears and hoping that soon we will be within those Bahamian waters.

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